Rainy days with a sick kid at home mean cleaning and organizing!
In going through & organizing all my photos, I came across several scanned images, including these scans – business cards from places I visited or frequented while living in Prague. Lehká Hlava (“clear head”) was a lovely vegetarian (actually, if I remember correctly, it was vegan) that I frequented with “the girls” for my knitting circle. We met at each other’s flats and then met up here at Lehká for awhile – they had a little side room that we reserved every week. We eventually moved on (keep reading!) when the staff at Lehká started to seem less than thrilled with our weekly presence and once even gave away our room during our normal, weekly time.(Yes, I started a knitting circle in Prague! After I left, someone else apparently took over and formed a more organized, more “official” sounding version of The Prague Stitch ‘n Bitch but my friends and I were the originals. Those girls absolutely made my time in Prague memorable and wonderful. I am not vegan now (nor can I claim being vegetarian anymore) but I still crave some of the dishes I remember there. One day, while shopping at the local co-op here in Seattle, I nearly fell over when I saw the boxes of “Revolution Tea” in the tea aisle. The first time I saw or tasted this tea was at Lehká Hlava and I was fascinated with the tea bags. I had never seen them in the States before (perhaps I just wasn’t noticing, I’m still pretty devoted to coffee) and it gave me warm fuzzies to see these boxes at the store.
One night, one of those knitting friends, Kamila, and I were wandering on the other side of the Vltava and stumbled upon a new noodle bar called, well – “The Noodle Bar”. We peeked inside and were warmly welcomed by the staff and owner. Since we’d begun getting a chilly reception from Lehká, we thought, hey! maybe The Noodle peeps would enjoy our company? We explained our situation (explaining the idea of younger women – i.e. not grandmothers – wanting to knit was hard enough, let alone the concept of a knitting circle!) but they were more than happy to have us meet up there. So for a couple months, we all gathered on the less touristy and more charming (in my opinion) side of the River where we ate noodles and drank more tea and danced and talked and had a blast. The staff was always more than happy to see us and often sat to join us for a chat. It was here that some of us said our goodbyes as we began to slowly filter out of Prague and back to the States. I just checked their old website and it looks like it’s moved, grown, has a completely different staff and their menu has expanded. Perhaps it’s an entirely different place that just took the url.
Au Gourmand was (is?) in the uber touristy part of Prague, in Staré Město (Old Town) and didn’t exactly cater to locals – I dated “a local” for nearly a year and he utterly despised going here with me because it was so expensive (by Czech standards, yes, but by American, not at all!) and just wasn’t they kind of heavy, filling Czech food he felt was appropriate for a meal. Harumph! But I loved it. I am a sucker for all things French and though speaking English was fine, I was thrilled to go in and practice my French here. I adored the pastries and the sipping cappuccinos… for lunch I often ordered the Quiche a l’oignon (or cibulovy quiche, but this was a place where I practiced FRENCH, not Czech!). Sometimes I was alone and then wandered around, earphones deeply embedded, taking them out only if I drifted in to the nearby Toni & Guy Salon to say hello to a particular stylist from New Zealand (oddly, I’ve forgotten his name but he gave me a much needed ego boost at the time!)
And though I don’t have the business card, since I’m “in the area”, solo Sundays ALWAYS meant stopping by Bakeshop Praha for a to-go latte (a hard thing to find, at that time!) and an espresso chocolate cookie. I think this location has long since closed but I believe there are others still open, according to Google. I generally loved my Sunday wanderings – those years were tough, for sure, and I was often afflicted with a deep sadness and loneliness that sunk right into my bones. The “knitting circle” was a great reprieve from all that, but so were my solo Sunday wanderings. Slowly meandering around a “foreign” city, as a late 20-something female from The States with complete ease, partially speaking the language and knowing how to get around was a magical salve for all that ailed me. Having that independence, freedom, and confidence when you’re at your lowest is simply… well, it keeps you grounded.
Café Louvre, also in that area, ruined me for hot chocolate. Oh yes, if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. In fact, I still talk about it and I refuse to buy powders or chocolate mixes at home – I make REAL hot chocolate for the Nugget. Louvre is a lovely, and famous, cafe for sure. Friends and I occasionally met there for lunch – I always, always got the hot chocolate. In the main room, you could always see the giant pot of hot chocolate – thick like pudding, waiting and simmering in what looked like a crock pot. It’s French style, really – because why would the French serve junky powdered hot chocolate? Mon Dieu!
The zoo! Man, I loved the Prague Zoo. I’ve had this “thing” since I took a solo trip to Amsterdam about 12 years ago – when I travel, I check out the zoo. (The only one that made me regret this habit was the one in Bangkok. Yeesh. Another day, another post…) I went to the Prague zoo a lot – it wasn’t just the zoo that was lovely to walk around in, but even the walk to get there. You could walk the long way through and past the Chalet (I do have pictures, but the zoo – and all the zoos – demand their own post). It was woodsy and beautiful and if you went in the colder months, you could buy some hot Grog to sip while walking around. In fact, one of the reasons I enjoy the Woodland Park Zoo here in Seattle so much is because the Northern Trail portion reminds me so much of the Prague Zoo. (If only Woodland Park served grog!)
Hell.CZ! During my first trip to Prague (about a year before I moved there), I went to a piercing shop (which I forget the name of) and got several more ear piercings. (A bunch of hoops high up on the top curve of the ear.) I think I got three new hoops and when the girl was done piercing me, she held up a mirror and said, “It make cool, no?” When I lived there, I kept seeing stickers all over town for “Hell” tattoo and piercing. In one of my usual fits of spontaneity, I called to make an appointment for a piercing that I’d been wanting for ages. (This is a “family blog” so I’ll refrain from stating it outright, but suffice to say it was a pair of piercings. I rarely complain about pain, I’m no stranger to ink and piercings, but damn those hurt like a mo’fo’.) It was an entertaining experience, however.